B-Sides in the Bins – #5 – Tower Records in San Jose, CA

If you’ve been reading any of the bigger blog sites like Stereogum or Idolator, you are probably aware that the Tower Records chain of music stores is closing and the end is in sight. In these last days the locations are having progressive sales. In the beginning, the sale prices weren’t that great since most of the titles at Tower were $15.99 and higher! I was in San Jose last week for business and I made it a point to hit a Tower while I was there. I visited the Tower Blossom Hill off Highway 85. According to the website, this location is infamous for a “surprise” appearance of Metallica in June of 1996.

I made it to the store some time after 8 PM on Thursday, December 14th. All CD’s in the store were at 70% off and DVD’s were at 60% off! Rap titles were $1.99 apiece. The store was very picked over, while there was some organization left in the original bins, there were additional bins scattered throughout the store that weren’t organized in any fashion– so it was cratedigging through those. The in-store audio was playing David and David’s Welcome to the Boomtown album which was appropriate in a kind of ironic way. One of my justifications for this run was to get some Christmas gifts, so I’ll be leaving a couple of things off in case the recipients are reading, however unlikely that might be.

Everything All The Time – Band of Horses (CD SubPop SPCD 690, 2006) (List $14.99, Paid $4.00) There were a bunch of copies of this one in the bins. Band of Horses was a big deal earlier this year, and I liked what I’d heard, so I picked this up.

‘Sno Angel Like You – Howe Gelb (CD Thrill Jockey Thrill 167, 2006) (List $15.99, Paid $4.80) The only copy of this in the bin. I reviewed this CD last spring glowingly. I had borrowed this to review it and wanted to get a copy for myself.

Around – Tom Verlaine (CD Thrill Jockey Thril 174, 2006) (List $15.99, Paid $4.80) I haven’t had a chance to hear this, yet. This is the instrumental album he released this year which is considered to be the follow up to Warm and Cool, which Thrill Jockey re-released this year.

Megaforce – 707 (CD MTM Classix 0681-99, 2004 – Italian Import) (List $31.99, Paid $9.60) This is a guilty pleasure, I guess and a surprise find. Megaforce was 707’s third album and included the theme song to the 1982 movie of the same name starring a very blonde Barry Bostwick. I was at some party my Sophomore year of high school with some Seniors who were playing this tape. I went to Musicland in Dubuque shortly afterwords and bought a cassette for myself. This was a tape that got a lot of play while riding around in my ’74 Firebird. 707 sounds like a cross between Journey and REO Speedwagon, which might be due to the fact that Kevin Cronin was a fan and got them signed to a label and Jonathan Cain helped write the song “Megaforce.” I’d been wanting to get this on CD for a while, but it quickly fell out of print. This is an Italian import and contains bonus tracks of additional “incidental” music from the movie. Recommended if you like motorcycles that fly.

…until we felt red – Kaki King (CD Velour Recordings VEL 0604, 2006) (List $15.99, Paid $4.80) This was a CD that I had forgotten about until I saw the very distinctive cover. Kaki King is mostly known as an instrumental guitarist, but on this album she does some singing and adds a band. This album is produced by John McEntire who is from Tortoise and the Sea & Cake. As a result, this album sounds a lot like those bands. It also seems to have moments of shoegazing similar to the Pale Saints. Pitchfork gave this album a damning 4.7, somewhat unfairly. This sounds like an album from an artist trying to expand her sound. Very listenable.

Son – Juana Molina (CD Domino Recordings WIG176, 2006) (List: $16.99, Paid $5.10) I first read about Juana Molina in the July 2006 issue of “The Believer,” which was their annual music issue and came with a CD. In the magazine was a very interesting interview. The album is an eclectic mix of Argentinian pop and electronica according to the sticker on the sleeve. Juana says in the interview that she is very influenced by sounds around her. She evidently imitates birds and other animals in her music. I can’t wait to hear this one!

All-in-all a good haul. I could have left with much more, though. Other titles I saw but didn’t pick up included: Don Dixon’s new The Entire Combustible World in One Small Room, an SACD of The Black Orpheus by Vince Guaraldi (still kicking myself), the 2 CD Deluxe edition of Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend (multiple copies), Grant Green’s Greene Street, the expanded reissue of Spoon’s Telephono, *many* copies of the Flaming Lips’ At War With the Mystics, Japanese import slipcase edtions of Springsteen’s The River, and The Clash’s Sandinista, and many copies of the MSTRKRFT album.

If you get a chance to, you should hit a store. I read someplace that when a location closes, they have a 90% sale!

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